The cream is rising to the top
We’re now over halfway through the regular season for college baseball and four weeks into the SEC slate and the top of the conference is beginning to stand out.
Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Florida appear to be the best teams in the SEC East, while Arkansas and LSU are leading things in the West.
The bottom of the conference is a bit of a mess right now with a lot of teams still trying to find their groove.
Florida (19-5, 9-3)-Tennessee (20-3, 5-7)
Brandon Sproat out-dueled Chase Dollander in game one allowing just 1 earned run on 4 hits and 4 walks with 9 strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
Josh Rivera, BT Riopelle, and Cade Kurland all went deep for Florida.
Florida jumped on Chase Burns in game two scoring 5 runs in the first 2 innings. Wyatt Langford, Jac Caglianone, and Matt Prevesk added home runs later to cap off the 9-3 win.
Hurston Waldrep went 7 innings giving up 3 earned runs on 5 hits and 2 walks with 9 strikeouts.
It was Tennessee’s turn to break out the sticks as they scored 9 unanswered runs to begin game three on their way to a 14-2 win in 8 innings.
Griffin Merritt was 3-4 with 6 RBI and 2 home runs. Drew Beam struck out 10 over 7 innings allowing just 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 1 walk.
Tennessee will travel to face Arkansas next weekend, while Florida will host their rival in Georgia who is coming off a big series win over Kentucky.
Kentucky (27-5, 9-3)-Georgia (18-14, 3-9)
Georgia took a 4-0 lead in the sixth of game one, but then Kentucky responded with 7 unanswered runs to win 7-4.
Ryan Waldschmidt was 3-5 with 2 runs and an RBI. Mason Moore pitched 3 perfect innings to close the game out.
Liam Sullivan pitched a 7-inning complete game shutout in game two with 8 strikeouts as Georgia won 3-0.
Parks Harber got things started early in game three with a 3-run homer in the first inning. Charlie Goldstein and Leighton Finley combined to allow just 5 hits and 1 walk with 9 strikeouts in a 7-inning game for Georgia as they won 6-2 to take the series.
Georgia will try to continue their good pitching against a very good Florida offense next weekend. Kentucky got off to a hot start, but now they enter the meat of their schedule starting with LSU next weekend.
LSU (26-5, 7-4)-South Carolina (28-4, 9-2)
A big-time matchup between number one LSU and number six South Carolina was cut short this past weekend due to some bad weather that altered a lot of series.
Game one saw both Paul Skenes and Will Sanders leave after 3 innings. Skenes had given up two runs on two home runs but had also struck out eight batters.
Forcing Skenes to exit early seemed to be a huge benefit for South Carolina who would go on to win 13-5. Ethan Petry had 8 RBI thanks to a grand slam and a 2-run homer.
South Carolina took a 7-3 lead into the 8th inning of game, but Gavin Dugas hit a grand slam to tie the game that inning. An inning later Cade Beloso had a hit up the middle to score Dylan Crews for the game-winning run.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a finale to this great series as game three was canceled.
South Carolina faces another top five team next weekend in Vanderbilt, while LSU will host Kentucky.
Vanderbilt (26-6, 11-1)-Missouri (20-11, 4-8)
Vanderbilt hung on for a 7-6 win in game one of this series despite giving up 4 runs in the 7th inning. However, their SEC winning streak ended there as Missouri was able to score 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth of game two for the walk-off win. Matt Garcia had the 2-run single to win the game.
Vanderbilt bounced back with a 5-0 win in game three with a great start from Devin Futrell going 7.1 innings with no runs, no walks, 5 hits, and 6 strikeouts.
RJ Schreck had 2-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR.
Carter Holton was scratched from his start this weekend for Vanderbilt, which forced Bryce Cunningham into the rotation.
Vanderbilt will host South Carolina next weekend in what will be a battle for the top spot in the SEC East. Missouri goes to Texas A&M.
Texas A&M (20-12, 5-7)-Auburn (19-12-1, 3-9)
Texas A&M got a much-needed series win on the road, taking two-of-three from Auburn.
Trevor Werner broke up a 5-5 tie in the 7th inning of game one with a big three-run home run to help lift the Aggies to an eventual 9-5 win.
Nathan Dettmer struck out 11 in 5.2 innings and Evan Aschenbeck finished things off tossing 3.1 scoreless innings.
Cooper McMurray hit a pair of home runs for Auburn in game two to help lead them to a 10-9 win despite a 5 RBI effort from Jace LaViolette.
Texas A&M scored 12 runs on 14 hits and 12 walks in game three to win 12-6 and take the series over Auburn.
Brad Rudis, Brandyn Garcia, and Will Johnston finished off the game for Texas A&M not allowing a run in 6 innings with 11 strikeouts.
The Aggie bats have finally gotten going and there are some arms in the bullpen they can now trust. Look for them to continue that momentum at home against Missouri next weekend.
Auburn will be heading to Tuscaloosa with both teams coming bad series losses at home.
Miss St. (19-14, 3-9)-Alabama (23-10, 4-8)
With Ben Hess injured for Alabama, Garrett McMillian was thrust into the Thursday night start in what was essentially a bullpen game. Mississippi State outslugged Alabama for the 12-8 win.
Ross Highfill led the Bulldogs going 3-5 with 4 RBI – three of them coming on a 7th inning home run.
Luke Holman was great on the mound for Alabama in game two allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks in 5.2 innings, which was plenty as the offense put up a 11-spot. Dominic Tamez drove in 4 on a pair of 2-run homers.
Mississippi State scored 5 runs in the final three frames to take down Alabama in game three and win the series.
The Bulldogs will try to carry that momentum back home as they face their rival next weekend. While Alabama stays at home to face its rival in Auburn.
Arkansas (25-6, 8-4)-Ole Miss (18-13, 2-10)
Hunter Hollan tossed 6 shutout innings and Brady Slavens drove in 5 runs as Arkansas beat Ole Miss 11-2 in game one.
Hagan Smith moved back into the rotation this past weekend for Arkansas, but it didn’t quite work out as the Razorbacks lost game two 7-4.
Ethan Lege was 3-3 with 4 RBI and a home run for Ole Miss.
JT Quinn had a solid start for Ole Miss in game three striking out 8 batters in 5 innings, but Arkansas scored 2 in the 7th and 1 in the 8th to win the game 6-4 and take the series.
Ole Miss goes to Starkville where the past two College World Series winners will face off – but now they battle for the last spot in the SEC West.
Arkansas will host Tennessee in what should be a really fun matchup in Fayetteville.
SEC Power Rankings Week 8
5. South Carolina
8. Texas A&M (up two)
9. Missouri (down one)
10. Alabama (down one)
11. Ole Miss
14. Mississippi State